Campaign for Better Transport, a United Kingdom (UK)-based charity, has called upon the government to impose a “super tax” on private jet passengers, citing the unprecedented damage to the environment caused by their flights. Furthermore, the organization wants UK lawmakers to abolish the Value-Added Tax (VAT)-free status of private flights.
“Private jets are hugely damaging to the environment and are the preserve of the super-rich,” said Norman Baker, the Director of External Affairs at Campaign for Better Transport. According to Baker, private jet passengers need to start paying for “the damage their flights cause and the proceeds used to help improve public transport for communities up and down the country”.
According to the charity’s estimates, private jets are 14 and 50 times more polluting compared to commercial flights and trains, respectively. While currently passengers on these flights pay the same Air Passenger Duty (APD) as First Class and Business Class travelers, they should be paying a “super” rate of APD, the charity claimed.
Campaign for Better Transport wants the APD to be 10 times higher compared to the higher rate of air passenger duty on domestic and European flights. The proposed rate would “apply to all private jet passengers, regardless of the size or capacity of the aircraft or distance traveled”.
The organization further projected that the new rate could raise around £1.4 billion ($1.6 billion) annually, which would almost “cover Network Rail’s entire maintenance costs from last year and is more than the Government has invested across the whole of the local bus network in recent years”. The charity claimed that abolishing VAT-free status could add between £79 and £623 million ($94 and $741 million) to the government’s coffers, adding that there were 135,505 private aircraft movements from and to the UK in 2021.
“With the UK responsible for almost a fifth (19 percent) of Europe’s carbon emissions from private jets – more than any other European country – Campaign for Better Transport is calling on the Government to ensure that private jets pay for the pollution they cause and that the money is invested into public transport services around the country,” the group said.